This place called Dwarka is located in Kathiawar Peninsula’s western tip. Out of the four most sacred spots for the Hindus in India, this place is one of them. After escaping from Mathura, Krishna came here and made this his capital. Many tourists including numerous pilgrims come here and the place remains busy with them and the resident farmers here. Proof of five ancient cities is obtained from the relics found from excavations carried out here. Right now it is now drowned under sea water. Huge crowd comes here during the time of Janmastami, during the months of August and September. This occasion is for Krishna’s birthday.
This is considered to be the abode of Lord Krishna. In the state of Gujarat, Lord Krishna is fondly known as Ranchhodrai. He came to Dwarka after fleeing from Mathura, in order to create a new kingdom. It is one of the four most sacred spots for Hindus in India. Due to many a number of pilgrims come here to visit this religious place. The story goes as follows, that the city of Dwarka was drowned in water due to a huge flood that occurred here following the death of Lord Krishna and the decline of the Yadav dynasty that followed it. The city of gold sunk to the rock bottom of the ocean. The diggings that have been done here, suggests that this legend has a historical justification.
At the mouth of the river Gomti, where the river meets the Arabian Sea, the present day of Dwarka is situated. Apart from many other historical and religious destinations, this place is very famous for the Dwarkadheesh temple. During the time of celebrations of Krishna’s birth, named Janmashtami, millions of people come here to witness the celebrations from all round the globe.
THINGS TO SEE
Dwarkadhish Temple: Jagat mandir or Trilok sundar are the names given to the Dwarkadhish Temple. It is located on the Gomti creek. Vajranabh who is Lord Krishna’s grandson, constructed this temple initially around 25oo years ago. The architecture of the temple is quite majestic. From a distance of 10 Kms, the majestic shikhar, which has been finely carved having a height of 43 meters and a big flag made out of 52 yards of textile, can be seen. It has 56 stairs which reaches up to the edifice, located on one side of the river named Gomti. Constructed out of soft lime stones, the Dwarkadhish temple contains a sacred chamber, vestibule and a hall, rectangular in shape. There are one entry point for the pilgrims named swarga dwar and one exit point for the pilgrims named moksha dwar. During the 16th century, the lower portion of the temple was constructed while the numerous altitudinous towers date back to the 19th century. There are five floors in the temple. The altitude of the temple is 100 feet.
Museum of Shardapith Math: Adi Shankaracharya is held in a very high esteem and he is thought to be one of the India’s best philosophers merged together Advaita Vedanta’s dpctrines. He fused these principles in the time period of 32 years. He also created four numbers of mathas. Hinduism was initiated in a fresh manner and was given a fresh dose of life, following the Buddhist period. One of the four cardinal mathas, Sharda Matha is situated within the grounds of the Dwarka Temple. It is also called Sharda Peetha, meaning a religious spot. Another name given to this place is Kalika Matha. Adi Shankara started a custom and till now also, this place is entrusted with the Sama Veda. Different occurrences from Shankaracharya’s life are portrayed on the paintings. The engravings, which are present on the inner walls of the dome, show Shiva in different postures. The temples of Shardamba and Chandramaulishwer Mahadev are located close by.
Rukmini Devi Temple: This temple is set at a distance of 2 Kms from the city of Dwarka. The legend that surrounds this temple is stated here – it is believed that Lord Krishna and Rukmini, his wife, went to visit Durvasha, a sage, in order to ask him to come for dinner at Dwarka. The sage put up a clause that if he has to come for dinner, then his chariot will be driven by Krishna and Rukmini, not by any kind of animals. Krishna and his wife, Rukmini readily agreed to this condition. Rukmini ached for water while dragging the chariot, so when Krishna poked his toe into the earth, a spring of the sacred water of Ganga, sprung up.
Rukmini took a sip without offering Durvasha. Annoyed by her impoliteness he cursed Rukmini that she would be separated from her beloved husband. Hence Rukmini temple is located 2 kms away from Dwarka's Jagat Mandir. Maybe 2500 years old, but its domed mandapa and stepped sanctuary cannot be older than the 12th century in its present form.
The exterior of the Rukmini Temple is richly carved. It has a panel of sculpted naratharas and a panel of sculpted gajatharas at the base. The traditional spire of the main shrine contrasts strongly with the hemispherical dome of the pavilion. The garbhagriha has a recessed seat on which the present image of Rukmini, wife of Lord Krishna, was consecrated. The usual sculptures of god and goddesses, along with male and female figures, are seen on the exterior of the shrine.
Shrine of Meerabai: Right across the vegetable market and at a distance of 150 meters from the principal temple of Dwarkadheesh, the shrine of Meerabai is located. In a residential area, this not-so large shrine is located. A painting of Meerabai and a statue of Lord Krishna are present in the shrine. Meerabai was born and brought up in a royal family and she later married a ruler of Rajasthan in the 16th century. However, she abandoned the materialistic life and entirely got devoted towards Krishna, her beloved. Meerabai reached Dwarka, towards the finish of her pilgrimage and dedicated herself to worship Krishna with the help of her ephemeral poems about love. The myth associated with the temple is that, her devotion to Lord Krishna was to intense and deep that she became one with the idol of Shri Krishna. So, this sacred spot is believed to radiate her strong aura and her wisdom.
Gomati Ghat Temples: A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is present on the Gomti River’s bank. Many other little shrines of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and Sudama, Krishna’s friend are also there in and around the ghats on the bank of Gomti River. Since 100 years, pilgrims visit this place.
Lighthouse: The lighthouse is located on the coast line of the Arabian Sea. This lighthouse is open to public from 4 pm to 6 pm. In the present time also, this lighthouse acts as a landmark for the seamen. A spectacular and magnificent view can be seen from the lighthouse. It also functions as a rest stop for the tired pilgrims.
ISKCON Gate and temple: The famous ISKCON gate is situated close to the entry point to the city of Dwarka. On the Devi Bhavan Road, the temple of ISKCON is situated, which is just cross wise to the ISKCON gate. Statues of Lord Krishna along with Radha are there in this Gita Mandir. A beautiful sight of the Dwarkadheesh Temple can be seen from the roof top of the temple. Lodging facilities are provided by a not-so-large guest house, which contains 20 good rooms. The fact that the temple has been constructed totally with stone, is a main characteristic of this temple, since in the entire history of ISKON, this is the first of its type.
Nageshwar Jyothirlinga Temple: The Nageshwar Jyothirlinga Temple is situated in between the two places, namely Dwarka city and Beyt Dwarka. It is located on the shore of Saurashtra, Gujarat. This is a significant temple built, dedicating in to Lord Shiva. One of the 12 swayambhu jyothirlingas present in the world exists here, in a sacred chamber under the ground. The principal things to see here are a statue of Lord Shiva in a sitting posture, which is 25 meters tall and a big and beautiful garden. A pond is present in this garden. ‘Darukavana’ is the name given to Nageshwar. The name ‘Darukavana’ means a age old mythological name of a forest located in India.
Beyt Dwarka: Another name given to Byet Dwarka is Beyt Shankhodhar. It is a tiny island. Prior to the advancement of Okha, this was the principal port in this area. One can see dolphins here. Apart from this, many other fun activities such as marine outings, going for camping and picnics, can also be done here. There are many proofs such as relics found after digging and other religious ancient writings are found, which states the fact that this place was the original dwelling place of Lord Krishna.
Shri Krishna Temple: Shri Vallabhacharya constructed this temple, almost 500 years ago. Rukmini made a statue of an idol, which is present in the temple. The people who come here to visit the place, gives rice to the Brahmins, influenced by the story that suggests that here Sudama, Lord Krishna’s friend gave him a gift of rice and so the custom is continued by the visitors as well. Other little temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Hanuman, Devi and Lord Vishnu, are present close to the main temple.
Hanuman Temple: In the east direction of the principal temple of Beyt Dwarka, located at a distance of 5 Kms, the spectacular Dandiwala Hanuman Temple exists. Lodging facilities for visitors are available. The statue of the Makardwaja, the son of Hanuman, is considered on the unique features of this temple. It is believed that Lord Hanuman was born from a fish, which was impregnated with celibate Lord Hanuman’s single drop of sweat. Another mythological story is that, both Lord Ram and Laxman was abducted by Ravana during the renowned battle of Lanka. They were kept in Patal, which the world that exists underground. This location was opted by Hanuman for going into Patal. Then he had to face Makardhwaja, who was defending the entrance to Patal. This is the time when they came face to face and realized that he was his father. The occasion of Hanuman Jayanti calls up for a huge celebration here.
Kachoriyu: The temple has been built and dedicated to Shri Rama. Many sculptures of Garuda meaning eagle, Shankha meaning conch shell, Chakra meaning a sharp circular weapon as well as a statue of Lord Hanuman, are present here close to the entry point. The name of the pond, which is located close to the temple, is known as Kachoriyu Talav.
Haji Kirmani Pir: Haji Kirmani Pir’s shrine is located in the eastern coast of Beyt Dwarka. His birthplace is Kirman, Iran. He is supposed to be one of the most significant saints for Sufi. People following various religions come here to visit this place as a token of their faith.
Gurudwara: Panjpyare’s Sikh saint Shri Hukamchandji was born in Beyt, or it is so believed. As a consequence, numerous Sikhs make a trip to this place to go to the Gurudwara, which is situated in the Bhudhiya region.
Gopi Talav: The legends that are related to this lake are the childhood tales of innocent pranks and love. In the palce named Vrindavana, when he was a kid, he used to dance with the Gopis. The Gppis could not tolerate the distance between them and Krishna, when he moved to Dwarka and so they came here to see him. Near the Gopi Talav, which is located at a distance of 20 kms from Dwarka, the Gopis and Krishna came together again. The night was the night of Sharad Purnima, meaning a night of full moon. Once more, they performed their dance, named raas. The myth surrounding this place is that, the Gopis gave their life for the soil of this area and they blended with their loved ones. They converted into yellow colored clay which is called the Gopi Chandan. At present also, the soil surrounding the talav is yellow in color and it is very fine and smooth.
Gop: The tribal community named Gop is basically a cattle breeding tribe. It is believed that this community is a main descendents of Krishna Dynasty, also called Yadavs. For a time period of over than 1000 years, this tribal group dwells here. Gop is also the name that is fondly given to the village. A temple called Gopnath mahadev Temple is present in the village. This temple exists since the 6th century. The distance between this temple and the state transport bus stand, is a mere 7 Kms. From this point onwards, one has to climb up as many as 600 steps; however there is an option to take a vehicle till the temple as well. Religious preaching and speeches were given by Shri Vallabhacharya here. Out of the 84 Mahapravhujini Bethaks, this temple is considered one of them.
Ghumli: Numerous temples are located at Ghumli, in the hills of Barda. One of such numerous temples is the renowned spectacular temple of Navlakha Temple. It was built by the Solanki Dynasty. Also located here, is the biggest step-wells in Gujarat, named Vikia Vav. The Wildlife Sanctuary offers a good location for trekking; however if one wishes to catch glimpses of animals, it can be disappointing since it is very difficult to do so here. The tribal groups such as Maldhari, Bharvad, Rabari and Gadhvi reside in these hills. Getting accommodation is difficult, but if one wishes to go for camping then that can be done, but one has to take permission for that.
HOW TO REACH
By road: One can get buses, both government and private from places like Ahmedabad and Jamnagar.
By train: The railway station of Dwarka is situated on the Ahmedabad-Okha wide gauge railway line. The other major cities of Ahmedabad like Jamnagar, Rajkot, and Ahmedabad and also that of India are connected to Dwarka via this station.
By air: Jamnagar, located at a distance of 137 Kms from Dwarka, has the closest air terminal.